Gilles Cadieux: the committed teacher

Gilles Cadieux & Micheline Boisselle. ©Courtoisie

There are a number of arenas across Québec and, for the most part, they bear the name of their town, a politician, a hockey player or a famous skater. In our village, our arena bears the name of a simple citizen who, through unyielding effort, ensured that the local youngsters would have access to the benefits of sport. This month I will tell you the story of Gilles Cadieux.

The Cadieux family was originally from Alfred, a small village not far from Montebello, where they owned the general store – a business that was doing well. Gilles’s father, Rolland Cadieux, was in partnership with his own father, Henri Eugène Cadieux. In 1937, they learned that a building housing a general store was for sale in Saint-Jovite.

The Cadieux family thought that it was time to develop because the family was getting bigger. Henri Eugène went there and offered $8,500 cash – money he had hidden in his shoes – for the building, which still exists at the corner of rue de Saint-Jovite and rue Charbonneau. Gilles’s parents married in 1940 and moved onto the second floor. They ran the general store on the first floor.

Gilles was born in 1941 and his sister Francine in 1943. Rolland bought back the business in 1951 and transformed it into two distinct entities: “Mode Rolland Cadieux” and “Western Auto Supply”.

Rolland was a great friend of my father Charles and both of them were on the baseball and softball teams. They played from the Lower Laurentians up as far as Rivière-Rouge and even Mont-Laurier. These ball games were very popular and whole families would come to watch. It was an opportunity to have picnics, and go for bike rides or forest walks.

Gilles and I, who were inseparable, were the bat boys. We were so happy to be with our fathers and be a part of their adult world.

Gilles is a good athlete: he’s good at hockey, softball, baseball, and can ski every run with ease. He is also a good tournament player. Gilles went to study at Roussin College and then at the University of Ottawa, where he graduated in commerce. When he returned home, he had to make a choice: take back the family business, or head for teaching. It was the village students who won out, as he chose teaching.

Gilles met Micheline Boisselle, also a teacher, and they married in 1968. They had two daughters, Sylvie and Josée, both of whom also became teachers.

Micheline and Gilles were a dynamite couple. For 30 years, they organized alpine ski days for their students at various ski centres in the region. Gilles is convinced that providing young people with access to a healthy lifestyle can only have positive repercussions on their lives. He made a commitment to help his students make a path in their lives thanks to the magic tool of sport.

Gilles had a dream for his village: a covered ice rink sheltered from the elements. An arena, where the young and less young could have established schedules, in good weather and bad. Gilles ran a campaign aimed at the local politicians and influential citizens. He pushed; he pulled; he maneuvered so that the village would finally get its arena. And when the dream became a reality in 1974, he passed on all the credit to those who participated in bringing the project to fruition and even refused to have the arena bear his name. He did agree that the street could be named Cadieux.

In 2017, to his great surprise, he learned that the city council – with Mayor Luc Brisebois at its head – had just decided unanimously, without his knowledge, to give his name to the arena. It was at a ceremony, which he was invited to attend at the arena, that he discovered the tribute being paid him.

Actually, it is Gilles that brings honour to our village. The committed teacher, the organizer and promoter of a project, dedicated his life to having our young people shine. Even recently, he was present at the arena during a provincial Peewee hocky tournament.

Well done, my friend. You have been, and will always be, a model of determination for all of us.

Never give up, Gilles.

 

More from this author by clicking on his photo below.

Peter Duncan

 

Peter Duncan93 Posts

Membre de l’équipe canadienne de ski alpin de 1960 à 1971, skieur professionnel de 1971 à 1979 et champion américain en 1965, Peter Duncan a participé aux Jeux olympiques de 1964 à Innsbruck ainsi qu’à ceux de 1968 à Grenoble. Intronisé au Temple de la renommée du ski au Canada, au Panthéon des sports du Québec et récipiendaire de la médaille du gouverneur général, Peter a longtemps été commentateur de ski à la télévision./ Peter Duncan is a Canadian former alpine skier who competed in the 1964 and the 1968 Winter Olympics. He was named to the Canadian National Alpine Team in 1960 at the age of 16 and competed at the national level for the next 10-years until 1970 before retiring.

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